County renews lease for fishing access at the Oak

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 August 2020 at 8:35 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: These fishermen try to catch salmon and trout in the Oak Orchard River on Oct. 19, 2018.

CARLTON – The Orleans County Legislature has secured public fishing access for the next five years along about 4,000 feet of the Oak Orchard River, including at some of the most desirable fishing spots.

The Legislature on Wednesday approved spending $69,000 over the next five years to Roy and Scott Salmon of Park Avenue in Waterport. That will give the public access to 15.8 acres of highly coveted property. The lease runs from Aug. 22, 2020 to Aug. 21, 2025.

The county first entered into an agreement with the Salmons in August 2007. That first agreement was $7,500 annually over three years. The most recent lease was for $60,000 for over five years, or $12,000 annually.

The county in 2007 pushed to reach a deal with the Salmons for public access after the family put about 50 posted signs along their property. Fishing is the county’s top tourism attraction, generating about $28 million in economic activity in Orleans, according to a recent report from the state DEC based on 2017 data.

The Oak Orchard is a popular draw, especially in the fall during the annual salmon and trout runs with many anglers coming from around the state and country to fish in the river.

In addition to public fishing access, the agreement allows the Salmon property to keep its vegetative cover to protect water quality and riparian habitat, and to also be available for fishery and habitat management, research and educational programs.

The county has signs on the Salmon property, urging anglers to respect the land, by taking out trash and fish carcasses.

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